Why Is Oglethorpe Speedway Closing? [Facts!]

If you’ve ever been to Oglethorpe Speedway in Georgia, then you know that it’s an event you don’t want to miss. This is one of the largest dirt track races in the country, drawing huge crowds of people every year.

While it’s always great to attend a race even if you’re not competing, the fact that it’s a popular destination for motorsport fans really makes it special.

Unfortunately, the 2020 season is going to be the last one for Oglethorpe Speedway. The track is set to be sold and redeveloped. Since it’s a public park, the fate of the track will depend on how the state government, local city council, and private businesses in the surrounding area react to this news.

The decision to shut down this dirt track has nothing to do with the Covid-19 pandemic and everything to do with economic climate and governmental regulation. The latter factors will play a crucial role in determining the future of the entire sport, and it’s time for tracks to start adapting or close down.

The Reasons For the Closure

Back in March, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued a stay-at-home order. It came less than a month after the state had closed its businesses, which in turn had closed down many of the organizations that rely on them for funding and support. This order also suggested that people should only attend events when necessary.

With many sporting events and live music venues canceled or postponed because of the pandemic, the owners of smaller tracks and local venues had no choice but to close up shop. Bigger venues had to shut down as well because they couldn’t guarantee the safety of their attendees. This is when Kemp’s order really started affecting the sporting world.

It’s been more than a month since then, and while the stay-at-home order has been modified numerous times to allow more activities, it still doesn’t allow for large gatherings. This is why smaller venues are at a disadvantage compared to larger ones.

One of the venues affected by Kemp’s order is Oglethorpe Speedway. This is one of the country’s largest dirt track races, and it’s always held in March, the same time as the football season is starting and the weather is getting warmer.

This year’s edition of the race was supposed to be the final one. However, when the racing season started, it was decided that one more race would be held, just to abide by the rules put in place by the state government. It would be the last regular-season race for the legendary speedway before they close down for good.

This brings us to the current situation. Despite Kemp’s best efforts to keep sports venues open, it’s still hard for them to reopen once they’re closed. With the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason, venues can’t justify the huge investments needed to keep up with safety and health regulations. It doesn’t help that the economic stimulus package passed by the federal government doesn’t include any money for venues, either.

What’s Going to Happen to the Track?

Oglethorpe Speedway is going to be torn down and replaced with an apartment complex, a restaurant, and retail space.

It’s sad to see a track that’s been around for so long have to close. The last few years have been tough for the industry due to low attendance and a lack of support from corporate America. A lot of small tracks have shut down, and the ones that remain are struggling to make ends meet.

Hopefully, what happens at Oglethorpe Speedway will serve as an example to other tracks, proving that you don’t have to have the same old fashioned dirt track to make it in today’s world. They are able to keep open because they are part of a public park, and the city of Dalton has pledged to keep the facility open as long as public funding can be found.

It’s going to be hard for fans to find a replacement for a track like this. There aren’t many options in the Southeast, and even fewer that are this close to home. Fortunately, the industry is already starting to see the positive effects of the pandemic, and more businesses are looking towards events as a way to generate revenue.

If you’re a sports fan, then it’s important to keep up with what’s going on even if you don’t attend the events you follow. This is especially important when it comes to venues that you might consider going to. It’s important to look at the situation from all sides and understand the reasoning behind all decisions, especially when you’re passionate about a sport.

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